A common post the SB Nation NFL team sites have been done in the past and will continue to do throughout this season is "Which [opposing team's] player would [your favorite team's] fans take?" With the Philadelphia Eagles set to play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, it's time to address the question and familiarize yourself with the opponent's roster.
David Johnson. Next question. Nah, that’s too easy. He’s injured anyway, so we’re not including him in this discussion.
Instead, how about a name that Eagles fans dread: Larry Fitzgerald. Sure, the Eagles aren’t totally desperate for wide receiver help and Fitz is 34 years old. But the dude still has it. He’s logged 26 receptions for 276 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Another big reason to choose Fitzgerald in this hypothetical situation is because, as we all know, he’s an Eagles Killer. In eight total games against Philadelphia (including playoffs), Fitz has 50 receptions for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s just nuts.
I don’t care how old he is. He’s always going to be a concern when the Eagles play the Cardinals ... until he’s just not there anymore.
The Cardinals have some other threatening receivers. John Brown has burned the Eagles before. J.J. Nelson is averaging 15.2 yards per reception and has two touchdowns on just 13 catches this year. Jaron Brown is averaging 14.6 yards per reception.
Outside of these players, the Cardinals don’t have a lot of offensive talent. Their line is bad. Their tight ends are bad. Carson Palmer, who turns 38 this season, is obviously an established quarterback but he’s struggled this year (78.2 passer rating).
Philadelphia’s struggling secondary will be tested by the speed the Cardinals have at receiver. It’ll be critical for the Eagles’ defensive line to generate pressure on Palmer.
Patrick Peterson is the name that immediately comes to mind when you think of the Cardinals’ defense. The Eagles’ cornerback picture will look improved when Ronald Darby (and maybe Sidney Jones?) comes back, but for now they could use an upgrade. The Cardinals will likely use Peterson to shadow Alshon Jeffery this week.
Chandler Jones is another notable name on Arizona. The edge rusher had 11 sacks last year and he already has four this season. The Eagles have a lot of pass rushers already but you can really never have too many.
With the Eagles dealing with injuries to both Fletcher Cox and Tim Jernigan, maybe Corey Peters would be nice to have around. He ranks seventh in Pro Football Focus’ Run Stop Percentage metric and has totaled seven pressures this year. The Eagles have ran the ball well in their last two wins but they’re expected to face a tougher run defense this week.
Tyrann Matheiu, the Honey Badger, doesn’t seem to get as much hype as he used to. For what it’s worth, he ranks 100th out of 111 corners graded by PFF this season.
Tyvon Branch is PFF’s No. 1 graded safety in all of the league. That’s surprising since he’s not exactly a household name. Here’s some more info on Branch’s performance via our friends over at Revenge Of The Birds.
Tyvon Branch continued his excellent play on Sunday. Branch's 88.8 overall grade was the highest grade of the Cardinals' players and with his performance, he owns a 91.1 overall season grade, the highest among safeties. Branch leads all safeties with 10 run stops and 15 tackles on runs.
Sounds like another reason why the Eagles could struggle to run the ball as effectively as they have in recent weeks.
It’s between Peterson and Fitzgerald for me. Peterson fills the bigger need, but Fitz just absolutely kills the Eagles. It’d be so nice to not have to deal with him. But I’m taking Peterson and then going to regret it when Fitz goes off again this week.
If you were deciding for the Eagles, who would you take? Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).
Which Cardinals player would you steal for the Eagles?
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